On Mood and Meaning and Waiting

This morning, I could write about a thousand ideas, but none of them seem sufficiently relevant to me to warrant the expenditure of enough energy to bring those thoughts to life. I start writing about something that’s mildly interesting to me, then stop when I realize the requisite fire is just not there.

This is nothing new. Looking at my “drafts” folder for this blog, I see that I have started, but not finished, fifty-five posts. A few of those drafts contain the seeds of ideas that, with nourishment, have the potential of growing into essays or stories or even chapters of a novel. Some others, of course, I will eventually delete because they were dull or stupid from the start, wastes of the energy required to tap letters onto the keyboard; their deserved malnourishment will, ultimately, lead to their demise.

Today, the obstacle to writing something that matters is a combination of anger and the inability to properly articulate complex thoughts. I am angry this morning because I made the mistake of reading drivel complaining about immigrants and immigration posted by people whose words show clearly how willfully ignorant of the facts they are.  Yet I cannot write clear sentences exposing those words for the bias and hatred that launched them.  I am in a dangerous mood, the kind of mood that makes sharp machetes look like better tools than keyboards—precisely the kind of mood that launched the idiotic diatribes that led me to allow myself to respond the way I am responding.

Knowledge is such a precious thing.  It can, when married to experience, lead to flashes of insight that have the capacity to solve staggering problems and make lives richer and more complete. Anger, though, can burn through knowledge like a hot piece of steel can burn through wax, leaving nothing but a useless puddle in its wake. I dare not, in this state of mind, attempt to turn one of those fifty-five drafts into something meaningful, because I might risk turning one with potential into a puddle.

So, I will attempt to douse the flames in my brain with coffee.  And maybe I’ll imaging myself sitting in a chair on a desolate beach on a cool, cloudy day, the odor of the ocean filling my nostrils and a beautiful puppy sitting comfortably in my lap. I’ll listen to the sounds of the waves lapping against the beach and watch the shore birds skim the surface of the water. Maybe that will do it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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